SRINAGAR: In a major attack, militants of Hizbul Mujahideen on Monday attacked a cash van of a bank in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir killing seven people including five policemen and two bank employees.
A police officer said a group of militants attacked a cash van of Jammu and Kashmir Bank at Pumbai area in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, about 70 kms south of Srinagar, at around 4.15 pm.
The cash van of the bank was returning to Kulgam district headquarters from Damhal Hanjipora after dropping the cash at one of the branches there.
The police officer said five policemen and two bank employees travelling in the van were killed in the militant attack.
He said militants snatched four services rifles from the slain policemen before escaping from the spot.
IGP Kashmir SJM Gilani said as per initial investigation three militants were involved in the attack.
“They have been identified,” he said while speaking to media at the wreath laying ceremony of police men in Kulgam.
Immediately after the attack, police, paramilitary and army men rushed to the area and launched a combing operation to track down the militants responsible for the attack. However, no arrests were reported.
The deceased policemen were identified as Bashir Ahmad Dar, Farooq Ahmad, Ishfaq Ahmad Bhat, Mohammad Qasim and Muzaffar Ahmad while the bank employees killed in the attack were identified as Javed Ahmed Bhat and Muzaffar Ahmed Laway.
A J&K Bank spokesman said no cash was looted as the cash van had delivered cash remittance at the Bank’s Manzgam, Aharbal branch.
Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility of the attack.
Hizb outfit’s operational spokesperson Burhanuddin told local news gathering agencies in Srinagar that the attack was carried out by special squad.
He claimed that five policemen were killed in the attack while two bank employees were shot dead by CRPF men.
The spokesman further claimed that militants snatched four rifles from the dead policemen.
“We didn’t attack the vehicle with intention to loot the cash. We have got enough cash,” he said and warned that such attacks will continue in Valley.
The attack comes after security forces foiled attempt by two militants to snatch a rifle and loot a bank in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Friday last.
The attempt was foiled after CRPF men arrested one of the attackers after he fired at a jawan, injuring his hand.
Army chief arrives in Kashmir
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat arrived on a two day visit to Kashmir today.
After landing in Valley, the army chief accompanied by Northern command chief and GoC 15 Corps visited army garrison in Panzgam in Kupwara, where three army men including a captain were killed in militant attack on April 27.
A defence spokesman said during his interaction with officials at the garrison, General Rawat took stock of enhanced security measures put in place to foil militant attacks.
“Later, the army chief held a security review meeting at Badamibagh Cantonment in Srinagar. During the meeting, GoC 15 Corps Lt Gen J S Sandhu briefed the army chief about the prevailing situation in Kashmir,” he said.
The army chief, he said appreciated the synergy among security agencies and complimented the troops for undertaking operations with firmness and resolve.
General Rawat also visited the Army Hospital in BB Cantonment, where he enquired about the health of soldiers injured in Panzgam attack and wished them a speedy recovery.